Serious Violence Duty

Understanding the serious violence duty

Following the implementation of the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Act 2022, every area has a statutory duty to reduce serious violence. This duty places the responsibility of reducing serious violence on local authorities, working in partnership within the statutory, voluntary and community sector. The aim being for the partnership to embed serious violence reduction into their existing work, so that it becomes business as usual.

Oxfordshire continues to be an area with low levels of serious violence.

Not one agency can tackle serious violence on its own, and in Oxfordshire this work falls under the Safer Oxfordshire Partnership where we work closely with a range of partners to prevent and reduce serious violence, which includes taking a whole-system approach to understand the causes and consequences of serious violence, focused on prevention and early intervention.

The Serious Violence Duty requires the council and other authorities to work together to identify the kinds of serious violence in the area, the causes of that violence and to prepare and implement a shared strategy for preventing and reducing serious violence in the area. 

The strategy sets out Safer Oxfordshire Partnership approach to tackling serious violence in 2024, will be reviewed and refreshed bi - annually and takes into consideration the following sources of information:

  • Oxfordshire’s Strategic Intelligence Assessment and Strategic Needs Assessment which is produced annually.
  • Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit's strategic needs assessment
  • Home Office duty guidance

What is serious violence?

Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit define serious violence as:

"Serious violence includes specific types of recorded crime, such as homicide, grievous bodily harm, incidents that involve a knife, and areas of criminality where serious violence or its threat is inherent, such as in county lines drug dealing."

This is inclusive of all ages, location types (public / private) and domestic incidents but excludes simple possession of a knife.

A sub-definition may also be used locally to enable us to focus on crimes which contribute to the threat, likelihood and understanding of the above offences. Analysis of these may result in future inclusion into the primary definition above. These are for local partnership monitoring, sharing and review. These crimes can increase because of improved awareness, reporting, recording, trust, and other external factors and include:

  • all actual bodily harm (thus excluding 'other' violence with injury)
  • all drug supply / trafficking (thus excluding possession alone)
  • all sexual assault
  • all rape offences

This is not a legal definition.

Oxfordshire Partnership Serious Violence Reduction Strategy (Violence & Vulnerability) 

Safer Oxfordshire have a vision where residents, businesses, and visitors in Oxfordshire can live, work, and enjoy leisure time free from serious violence.